Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi are best pals – and Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has detailed his chat with the Argentine over his teammate being sold to Atlético Madrid.
Suarez was unceremoniously dumped by the Catalan giants after six years at the Nou Camp during which time he scored 198 goals in 283 games, helping them to four La Liga titles, four Copas del Rey and the Champions League.
He was sold to Atletico Madrid for just £5million and has had an instant impact in the Spanish capital, already finding the net twice.
Messi – who himself had tried to engineer a move away from Barca this summer – was publicly critical of the club for their handling of Suarez.
And Koeman says he spoke with Barca’s all-time leading scorer over the sale, but insists he actually wanted Suarez to remain in Catalunya.
“If you have someone in the locker room with whom you and your wife and children also hang out outside football, then such a reaction makes sense,” said the Dutchman.
“I also said that to Messi: ‘I understand that you are disappointed and think it is a terrible shame that he is leaving, but these are choices of the club’.
“In the case of Suarez, it had become very difficult for him to start playing and I made that known to him. He found it difficult, but I never had any trouble with him at all.
“He trained normally, trained well. He finally made the choice to leave and I said: ‘If you don’t leave, for whatever reason, then you are just one of the group, then you can prove that I was wrong’. He could have stayed, yes.”